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Best known of the 100 or so freshwater crayfish species found in Australia the Yabby inhabits the still, warm waters of the lowlands west of the Great Dividing Range in NSW.
The common Yabby is one of several species of smooth-shelled crayfish in the genus Cherax. Its scientific name (Cherax destructor) refers to its burrowing habit. It can cause considerable damage by burrowing into dam walls and levee banks.
In times of drought the Yabby can burrow many metres down into the ground where it can lie in a dormant state for several years until the next rains or flood bring conditions suitable for growth and breeding.
The Yabby is in the middle of the food chain and is basically vegetarian, but also scavenges decaying plant and animal matter. Yabbies will eat just about anything. In times of overcrowding and shortage of food, Yabbies will eat their own kind.
In turn, they are an important part of the diet of the white ibis, several species of cormorant and warm water fishes such as Murray Cod and Golden Perch.